Orlando Bloom stars in this life-affirming, heartfelt story
as Drew Baylor, a hot-shot designer whose life becomes completely
unraveled on one fateful day. En route to Elizabethtown to visit
his family, Drew meets Claire. She's beautiful, has an unstoppably
positive nature and she has decided to be just the gal to guide
Drew on his jourrney back home and to teach him what it means
to live and love along the way.
is quite sad when the parts of a movie do not add up to its
sum. What is it we are trying to get at here? Something philosophical?
Something stimulating? Or simply something inspirational as
actually all of the above, which happens to be very apt for
this 2005 movie directed by Cameron Crowe, who gave us hits
like Jerry Maguire (1996) and Almost Famous (2000). The road
trip movie is about our journeys in life, but unfortunately,
this theme does not quite come through in the 123-minute movie.
Bloom plays Drew Baylor, a failed shoe designer who learns
of his father's unexpected death. As the only son, he must
take a trip to their small hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky
to attend to his father's memorial. On the plane trip there,
he meets flight attendant Claire, played by Kristen Dunst,
whose positive attitude towards life helps to get his own
misguided life back on track.
has such a promising warmth and potential lesson to it, but
it is marred by a somewhat disorganized collection of scenes,
which happen to be quite workable if they stood alone.
scenes that deal with loss, hope and getting a grip of yourself
are abundant. But when put together, they just do not bring
the central message across effectively. You will be left wondering
what direction the movie is heading. The result is a draggy
movie which may lose its viewers.
pity, because the cast does deliver endearing performances.
Bloom proves that he can exude some emotions which will make
young girls go gaga. Dunst, on the other hand, gives her character
just enough spunk before it gets annoying to watch her consistently
intrude into Bloom’s life.
it is Susan Sarandon who steals the show single-handedly with
her portrayal of Bloom’s eccentric mother who tries
to grapple the loss of her husband. Look out for the final
scene where she delivers an engaging speech at the memorial,
before serenading into a dance accompanied by the lovely tune
of “Moon River”.
of American music will embrace this movie for its soundtrack,
which features The Heartbreakers’ 1987 hit “It’ll
All Work Out”, Ryan Adams’ 2001 song “Come
Pick Me Up”, and other hum-worthy tunes by Tom Petty
and The Hollies.
Considering that this is a road trip movie, music is a must.
But the journey may have been more smooth-sailing if Crowe
had put more effort into piecing the individual vignettes
together more coherently and developed the various plots more
substantially. We would have enjoyed the ride more.
Wheels - A two-odd-minute spot which features the
cast rehearsing for their scenes. This feature is not very
interesting, except for the music playing in the background,
which makes for, well, good background music.
Extended Scenes - After
you watch these two extended scenes, you will understand why
they did not make it to the final cut. They would only have
made the movie 10 minutes longer, without adding anything
else to it.
Meet the Crew - Another
two-odd minute feature that captures the various crew members
working on set. Nobody says anything, you just hear, yes,
we are not joking here, the nice background music.
Photo Gallery - Postcard-pretty production
stills which make pretty stars look prettier.
Theatrical Trailerss - Two trailers are included
in this Code 3 DVD.
audio mix for this DVD is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1.
For amusement’s sake, you can choose to listen to Bloom
and Dunst converse in Thai if you are tired of listening to
them talking in English. Yes, in case you are wondering, all
the songs are still sung in English. The visual transfer is
just nice and will not dilute your viewing experience.
by John Li